Ascent for a New Year…

Today is January 7th, 2012 and a new year has begun… Hmmm… now that’s a loaded statement. For such a short statement, it is replete with meaning.
The word “new” could represent many interesting situations. For example, the word new could be defined as fresh… recent… novel. Or better still and equally intriguing is the vernacular, “unfamiliar or strange”.
As the day of a new year dawns, in whatever place or situation we find ourselves, may we lift up our souls to God.” (Psalms 25:1). A prayer… Prayer is the ascent of the soul to God. It is also a deep and desperate desire… a longing for God by turning our hearts and minds away from earthly themes and fixing our thoughts and desires towards Him, our fountain of bubbling joy and tranquility.

To ascend we must move upward from a lower state to higher state. It is also a movement or return toward a source or beginning. As the psalmist ascends, he returns to God, remembering, “In you I trust”. Do I truly trust God? Yes, yes I do trust. It is in the remembrance… I do remember you are mercy. You are grace. You are faithful. You are justice. You are love.

The psalmist then humbly asks; Make me to know your ways… teach me your paths. Lead me… Lead me on your paths… Paths of ascent… Teach me your ways of ascending upward to your Holy Mountain, ascending higher still (Psalms 25:4-5).

I must confess, I have never gone mountain climbing, which is most interesting, because I do love hiking and I do love the mountains. So, why not climb them, explore the summit, and experience the thrill of ascent? I don’t know, but I think about it sometimes…

I imagine the staccato mountain sigh of wind blowing lofty boughs, far overhead with crescendos’ long swell rhythmically, resolving. I imagine the fragrant crunch, crunch, crunch of needles under foot as I transverse across the canopy floor weaving, turning, bending, straightening around tree partners standing solidly across the path. The immense silence of the wood is only interrupted and punctuated by the loud, obnoxious scold of a mountain jay calling to its mate. Not silent, not exactly, because in the distance I also hear a happy, bubbling brook, Gods’ dancing dandy, washing over ancient rock, pebble and stone carving pathways to the sea.

Mountain climbing is very much like an ascent to God. We must experience and savor God to desire Him. Psalms 34:8 says “Taste, experience, and see that the LORD is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him”! As you ascend the summit today, lifting your soul where God is, may you taste His goodness…hear His voice and sigh long in the contentment of finding refuge in Him.

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